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Book Review: Before the Scarlet Dawn, The Daughter's of the Potomac Book One by Rita Gerlach

Before I begin this review I must tell you I became involved in this epic story. I've read many fiction books, but it is rare for me to become entangled in one. I began reading this book on Tuesday afternoon, 336 pages later I finished at two o'clock in the afternoon on Wednesday. I could not put this book down until I'd read the last sentence. Of course now I have to wait until October to find out how my beloved characters will proceed in their tale.

Eliza Bloome age twenty-one is the daughter of Vicar Matthias Bloome. They live in Darbyshire, England. The time period is 1775. Matthias is ill and expected to not live long. Eliza's only sibling Stephen is far-away at Fort Erie, New York. Their mother died when Eliza was young. A Mr. Langbourne wishes to marry Eliza, promising her wealth and a lifestyle of ease. Eliza considers this proposal because she wonders what will become of her after her father's death. Hayward Morgan is a handsome and proud man. He is independent, stoic, and demands respect. He has bought property and a home in an American Colony. While he is back in England he and Eliza become reacquainted. Eliza makes a bold decision. A decision she bases on faith. A decision that will have long-term consequences.

Eliza is a person that stands firm in decisions she feels strongly about. She wants to marry for love. Yet, she is young and inexperienced, and at a moment in her life when she is left reeling from grief, she chooses what appears to be best. I believe when we are young we make more decisions based on our emotion, and less on our what our mind tells us. I know I've been guilty of this.
She is both lovely on the exterior and lovely in her inner person. Although not all people (men) are interested in her inner person. She is unprepared for the magnetic appeal she has on some people.
She laughs off what other's say of her, yet deep down she is hurt and troubled.
Eliza is hard-working, intelligent, loving, kind, respectful.
As bold as she is at times in speaking her mind, she respects maybe to a point of allowing inappropriate behavior.
She is a heroine in that when life's piercing arrows dart at her, she clings to the One that is her Creator and Savior.

Hayward Morgan is a proud man. He is defiant in his pride. He is stoic. He is reserved and is intolerant.
I had a difficult time with his character throughout all of the story. I just don't like him. Yet, I care about what happens to him. It is marvelous when an author can create an unlikable character and yet the reader cares what happens to him!

Characters are probably the most important aspect for me in a good story. Yes, the theme and setting is important, but the characters are the icing on the cake.

I loved the history of the Revolutionary War in America. I loved the author presenting the feelings of the families of those that were in the war.

Often I was moved by the mood of the story, and by the use of words that stirred my heart.

I loved the symbolism used in this story.
For example:
"Besides, I want to feel the grass beneath my feet...our grass. It is how it should least for today. Say you understand." page 92
Eliza was feeling in the green grass a newness, a beginning, a growth in this new life. We are shown through this image her hopes and dreams. We see a freshness of youth and of possibilities.

Yes, I loved loved loved this book!

Published by Abingdon Press February 2012
336 pages
Fiction/Romance/England/American Revolution/American Colonies/

Link for book @ Amazon:
Paperback $10.07
Kindle $3.99

For more information about the setting in England where the story takes place:

The second book in this series is Beside Two Rivers and will be available this October 2012.
The third book in this series is Beyond the Valley and will be available February 2013.

Another book by this author is The Rebel's Pledge. At this time the Kindle price is $2.99.

To read my previous review of a Rita Gerlach book Surrender the Wind:

Author sites:


Carole said…
Hi there, would you like to link in to “Books You Loved”. Here is the link Books You Loved August Edition Cheers
Ps I am now following your blog. If you link in and like my blog I would appreciate you following me back.
Carole said…
Just a note to let you know that your link in to Books You Loved: August was showcased in the September edition which has just posted. Would love to see another contribution from you this month! This is the link - Books You Loved September Edition